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The Thai Word 'loei'/เลย


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#1 Serendipitist

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Posted 2005-02-22 10:15:44

What is this word's meaning please? My TGF can't adequately explain it. It's not in our (otherwise comprehensive) electronic dictionary, yet is commonly heard, e.g:

Mai bpen lye loei; Law jang loei; bpai loei, etc etc.


A websearch (http://thai.amari.co...sguide_loei.asp) reveals this:

Loei

According to the dictionary, the Thai word loei (pronounced leuh-ay) means to “pass beyond” or “at a far extreme.” Some writers suggest that since the spelling of ‘loei’ and ‘Loei’ is identical in Thai script, herein must lie the origin of the name...


However, on searching here on TVF, I found this:

'Kin loei' - "Just (go ahead and) eat!". Used as an encouraging phrase among friends it is fine. Not particularly polite, but very commonly used among friends and not extremely impolite either. It really depends on the social situation.


Thus is a somewhat contradictory definition to that found on the web as above. And moreover, the TVF poster's definition (though undoubtedly right in its context) doesn't fully accord with the examples of its use given in my first paragraph.

So what exactly can, or does, 'loei' (เลย) mean?

Thanks.

#2 meadish_sweetball

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Posted 2005-02-22 10:41:19

What is this word's meaning please? My TGF can't adequately explain it. It's not in our (otherwise comprehensive) electronic dictionary, yet is commonly heard, e.g:

Mai bpen lye loei; Law jang loei; bpai loei, etc etc.


A websearch (http://thai.amari.co...sguide_loei.asp) reveals this:

Loei

According to the dictionary, the Thai word loei (pronounced leuh-ay) means to “pass beyond” or “at a far extreme.” Some writers suggest that since the spelling of ‘loei’ and ‘Loei’ is identical in Thai script, herein must lie the origin of the name...


However, on searching here on TVF, I found this:

'Kin loei' - "Just (go ahead and) eat!". Used as an encouraging phrase among friends it is fine. Not particularly polite, but very commonly used among friends and not extremely impolite either. It really depends on the social situation.

Thus is a somewhat contradictory definition to that found on the web as above. And moreover, the TVF poster's definition (though undoubtedly right in its context) doesn't fully accord with the examples of its use given in my first paragraph.

So what exactly can, or does, 'loei' (เลย) mean?

Thanks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I recognize my own post quoted there. The first thing to remember with Thai is that the same word does not necessarily mean the same thing in all contexts. Many of the most commonly heard words in everyday Thai mean different things depending on where in a phrase/sentence they occur.

'Kin loei' in my example can be compared to your "bpai loei", because both of these are imperative phrases (orders, commands) whereas "law jang loei", "mai bpen rai loei" are statements.

"Thai Reference Grammar" lists the following meanings for "loei":

- after, past (a time)
- from now on, permanently
- immediately, just, simply (the one applicable for "kin loei" and "pai loei")
- not any at all
- not anymore, never again
- only, just, simply
- past, beyond (place)
- past, beyond (time)
- so, therefore
- so/therefore/then, in responses
- then
- utterly, absolutely
- with "because"
- with "until after"
loei theung - so, therefore

as you can see, the list is pretty extensive, and I dont have the time to copy all those examples. I suggest you invest in the book, it is well worth the money.

Thai Reference Grammar - The structure of Spoken Thai

James Higbie and Snea Thinsan
Orchid Press, Bangkok 2003
ISBN: 974-8304-96-5

I got it for 895 baht.

The meaning in your other examples:

mai bpen rai loei - it doesnt matter at all
law jang loei - he is SO handsome (loei intensifies the statement).

Edited by meadish_sweetball, 2005-02-22 10:49:55.


#3 Boon Mee

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Posted 2005-02-22 10:56:46

I just bought "Thai Reference Grammer" by Higbie/Thinsan at the Chula Book store couple weeks ago for 860 Baht - looked at a bunch of other places first like Asia Books etc - no luck.

Best purchase I've made to help explain various usages.

#4 withnail

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Posted 2005-02-22 13:00:33

yeah its an excellent book although its a bit hard work at time.

By the way I always thought a good explanation for bpai loei would be "get going"

#5 bina

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Posted 2005-02-22 13:22:57

i would definately say loei is an all purpose word, and in a situation, the word can take on different meanings depending on the sentence:

my car's water pump (or whatever its called in english) gave out in the middle of the night on a rarely used country road w/two drunk thai workers in the back seat, me and an other thai.... after he finished checking under the hood, and discovering that we also have no filled water bottle in the car.... he just sat and mumbled stuff along the lines of:

the pump is dead, loei! (from now on, permanently)
we dont have water anywhere , loei (not any at all)
p. and s. are dead drunk and cant help, loei (utterly, absolutely)
the car is dead, loei (past, beyond (time) (i.e. has already died...)
we are stuck here, loei

after getting home, the car towed, etc , his only thai/laconic comment was: mai pen rai!!!!.. kin lao, loei!

#6 meadish_sweetball

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Posted 2005-02-22 13:43:49

I really dont have the time, but... :o

- after, past (a time)

kwaa khao ja klab baan khong loei thiang kheun pai laeo

before he gets home it'll probably be after midnight

- from now on, permanently

phom yaak yuu thii nii loei

I want to live here permanently.

(for more exact and formal contexts, permanently is expressed with thaa[R]wawn[M])

- immediately, just, simply (the one applicable for "kin loei" and "pai loei")
- not any at all

mii seua krathing daeng thii thanon khaao saan mai

Are there any Red Bull t-shirts at Khao San Rd.?

mai mii loei

No, none at all.

- not anymore, never again

Acc. to Higbie/Thinsan:

pattern - mai ... iik loei - Loei is used with the past tense instead of laeo to emphasize that the action was never repeated.

phom mai khoei joe khao iik loei

I never saw her again.

- only, just, simply

tham pai loei

Just do it!

- past, beyond (place)

roong ngaan yuu loei talaat pai

The factory is past the market.

- past, beyond (time)

loei weelaa nawn laeo

It's past bedtime (already).

- so, therefore

(gaw loei)

man yaak maak, khon gaw loei mai khaojai

It is really difficult, so people do not understand it.

- so/therefore/then, in responses
- then
- utterly, absolutely
- with "because"
- with "until after"
loei theung - so, therefore

#7 Serendipitist

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Posted 2005-02-22 14:26:22

Well... it seems loei (เลย) is a remarkably multi-faceted word.

Many thanks to all the posters who've helped, so well, to clarify the above!

Yours truly will also have to check out the book, Thai Reference Grammar - The structure of Spoken Thai.

Cheers!

#8 PvtDick

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Posted 2005-02-22 14:34:02

It's also a province in the Northeast, and can mean "to pass by" or "to exceed" (เลยไปแล้ว -- "we already passed it").

#9 Richard W

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Posted 2005-02-23 02:58:41

I just bought "Thai Reference Grammer" by Higbie/Thinsan at the Chula Book store couple weeks ago for 860 Baht - looked at a bunch of other places first like Asia Books etc - no luck.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I bought a copy at Asia Books in Thaniya Plaza (on 'Patpong 3') in November. I don't know who was lucky, though - it cost 895฿.

#10 Neeranam

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Posted 2005-03-02 10:55:46

QUOTE(Boon Mee @ 2005-02-22 03:56:46)
I just bought "Thai Reference Grammer" by Higbie/Thinsan at the Chula Book store couple weeks ago for 860 Baht - looked at a bunch of other places first like Asia Books etc - no luck.





I bought a copy at Asia Books in Thaniya Plaza (on 'Patpong 3') in November. I don't know who was lucky, though - it cost 895฿.


I hear you, I bought a copy from a shop in Central just off the 'saala daeng' BTS. On the same floor, walk in and turn right.
Same price, a bit much but a handy book to have.

#11 Abandon

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Posted 2005-03-02 11:45:12

loey
eoy
na
teou
Khrap/ka
rork
ja
gor

and many other words do not really have a 'meaning', though they all have uses. Lots of little words and phrases, have no real translation, and are just used for emphasis, or to make the sentance more rounded. Don't bother trying to look them up, just get the feel and copy that.

#12 meadish_sweetball

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Posted 2005-03-02 23:10:11

loey
eoy
na
teou
Khrap/ka
rork
ja
gor

and many other words do not really have a 'meaning', though they all have uses. Lots of little words and phrases, have no real translation, and are just used for emphasis, or to make the sentance more rounded. Don't bother trying to look them up, just get the feel and copy that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


And/or get a good grammar book with definitions and usage examples for these words, such as the one by J. Higbie suggested in this thread.

I may be splitting hairs for no reason, but I would claim that these words do have a meaning, only that this meaning cannot be described or translated easily in/into English or other distant languages.

#13 Serendipitist

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Posted 2005-03-02 23:50:28

loey
eoy
na
teou
Khrap/ka
rork
ja
gor

and many other words do not really have a 'meaning', though they all have uses. Lots of little words and phrases, have no real translation, and are just used for emphasis, or to make the sentance more rounded. Don't bother trying to look them up, just get the feel and copy that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


And/or get a good grammar book with definitions and usage examples for these words, such as the one by J. Higbie suggested in this thread.

I may be splitting hairs for no reason, but I would claim that these words do have a meaning, only that this meaning cannot be described or translated easily in/into English or other distant languages.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>





meadish_sweetball, now that I've obtained Higbie & Thinsan's book on your (et al) good recommendation, I must say you're definitely not 'splitting hairs' in setting pandit straight.

Your explanations have been spot on & most helpful. :o

Edited by Serendipitist, 2005-03-02 23:51:35.


#14 aletta

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Posted 2005-03-03 11:31:53

As far as i can tell it's an expresssion used by those who know you fairly well and emphasises an action.

#15 Abandon

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Posted 2005-03-03 20:38:02

Meadish is splitting hairs, but he's a bit older than me and needs to maintain a full head of hair. :o

Ok, so consider the following:

OK Let's go (bai gan)
OK Let's go then (bai gan toeu)

What are you doing? (tam arai)
What the heck are you doing? (tam arai nor)

I havn't got any! (mai mii)
I havn't got any at all (mai mii leoi)


Do the bold words have meaning? Sure they do, but the meaning (translation) is not relevant in these examples. But they do have useage and emphasis

All the little words I mentioned in my last post are like these ones - they are superflous words added according to common useage and to make the phrase sound nicer/stronger.

Then again, I must admit that Meadish' Thai is better than mine loei





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